Coronado Mayor Speaks on Tijuana Sewage at International Environmental Conference

Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey will attend meetings in Oklahoma Tuesday and Wednesday with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation that includes officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Bailey will represent the concerns over the Tijuana River sewage problem on behalf of the Coronado City Council.

Coronado has been working with local, state and federal officials to get infrastructure on both sides of the border that helps eliminate sewage flows.

“We thank our leaders for their support in working to stop these horrible spills that pollute local beaches,” Bailey said. “To keep the ball rolling, I am attending a session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Oklahoma on June 26 and 27 to help us make this issue a priority.”

Coronado, with help from its lobbyist in Washington, D.C., is working to get the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to install infrastructure on this side of the border to stop the sewage flows during wet weather. 

Mayor Bailey, Coronado Councilman Whitney Benzian, San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and City staff also recently met in Coronado with Kenneth Wagner, a senior advisor for regional and state affairs for the EPA, to discuss efforts to put together a coalition to provide the infrastructure to attack the problem.

Last month, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board submitted a 60-day notice of intent to sue the United States Section of the IBWC over the Tijuana River sewage crisis. Becerra claims the commission is not adequately managing the flows across the border.

The City of Imperial Beach, along with Chula Vista, filed a federal lawsuit against the IBWC in regards to sewage spills in March.

In January, Senator Dianne Feinstein asked the Trump administration for a $20 million budget for the Environmental Protection Agency’s U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure program.

The council's ultimate goal is to have basins installed in the Tijuana River Valley that would capture and divert flows to an area treatment plant.

“We know this will not solve the problem 100 percent, but it will improve the situation and it is something that we can control,” Bailey said. “Our major challenge is finding a lead agency. No one has been willing to take ownership of this issue.”

Longer term, the council is working toward infrastructure improvements in Mexico that would stem sewage flows at the source.

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